Master's in Political Science

What challenges do governments and societies face in modern democracies?

This is one of the central research questions addressed in the Master program in Political Science at the University of Bern.

This program at the Institute of Political Science also addresses issues related to democratic systems and the characteristics and effects of direct democracy. Another area of focus is political sociology – for example, the study of changes in political and social attitudes and analyses of the voting behavior of citizens in democracies. Additional topics addressed in the widely diverse program include political parties, interest groups, economic, social and environmental policies, international relations and the fundamentals of political theory.

The Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern is one of the leading political science institutes in Switzerland. Along with an outstanding advisor system, the program also provides for a very inspiring atmosphere with internationally renowned and respected political scientists and researchers.

Master Politikwissenschaften
Basic information
Degree: Master of Arts in Political Science, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 120 ECTS credits
Degree programs:

Major 90 ECTS credits

Minor offer for other degree programs:

  • Political Science 30 ECTS credits
  • Administrative Science 30 ECTS credits; only in combination with the master's in Political Sciences or Sport Science at the University of Bern
Combination possibilities: several
Duration: 4 semesters
Language: German
Beginning studies: Fall or spring semester

Master's students are required to attend courses in three out of seven subject fields (political theory, political system of Switzerland, political system of the EU, international relations, comparative political science, policy analysis and political sociology). A semester of study at a university with a teaching language other than German is required. A maximum of 30 credits must be attained during this semester. The program offers the opportunity to deepen your knowledge in areas already covered in the BA as well as to learn about new topics. When combined with a suitable minor, the Master's program in Political Science enables students to further pursue their interests and gain additional knowledge in all different fields of political science. For example, the «Minor Verwaltungswissenschaften» or the «Master Minor in Sustainable Development» can be studied in combination with the Major in Political Science.

A Minor (30 ECTS) is offered for students of other subjects.

The Master's degree program in Political Science consists of a major with 90 ECTS credits and a minor with 30 ECTS credits.

Any subject taught in a sufficient scope at the University of Bern can be chosen as a minor. However, students are not permitted to have a major and minor in the same branch of study.

The minor in Administrative Science (30 ECTS) can only be taken by master students majoring in Political Science or Sport Science at the University of Bern.

The Master program is completed when the master thesis is submitted. Students must agree on the content requirements for the master thesis with their advisor.

Any political science professor (or lecturer) can advise students who have officially registered for the Master Colloquium.

There may also be additional requirements for thesis advisement. Generally, the student must have attended at least one seminar taught by the professor in question.

Guidelines for Master Theses and Academic Writing:


An initial concept for the thesis is presented and discussed in one of the three specialized Master Colloquia. Master Colloquia are held every semester. A total of 30 ECTS credits are awarded for the master thesis (including the Colloquium). The following Doctoral and Master Colloquia are offered:

  • Policy Analysis and Regulation (Prof. Ingold, Prof. Elsig, Prof. Sager)
  • Swiss Politics and Political Sociology (Prof. Bühlmann, Prof. Freitag, Prof. Vatter)
  • Comparative Politics and the Political System of the EU (Prof. Stadelmann-Steffen, Prof. Wasserfallen)

Participation in an MA Colloquium requires prior consultation with, and the agreement of, the advisor as regards the specific research topic of the master thesis (consultation and agreement no later than six weeks before classes begin in the coming semester).
Students register with the person responsible for the organization of the colloquium via e-mail prior to the beginning of the semester.

Degree completion

The application for the completion of a Bachelor or Master's degree must be submitted to the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences. You will find further information about the application process at the website of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.

Doctoral data for BA/MA

Additional information

You will find additional information on the colloquia and participation requirements in the Core Teaching System (CTS) and the ILIAS.

Documents required when the master thesis is submitted:

Information on the thesis submission (format, binding, number of copies, additional documents) can be found in the Guidelines for Writing a Master Thesis.

Individual academic requirements

The following academic qualifications are required for admission to the master’s degree program:

Major in Political Science (90 ECTS credits):

Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a major or minor in Political Science or Social Sciences (at least 60 ECTS credits with courses in basic methodology)

  • Lecture and accompanying seminar in "Social Science Statistics" (6 ECTS credits)
  • Lecture in "Introduction to Empirical Social Research" (3 ECTS credits)
  • Lecture in "Qualitative Methods in Social Science" (3 ECTS credits)
  • Empirical research internship (8 ECTS credits)
Depending on the type of degree, other admission requirements which must be fulfilled in order to complete the master's degree program may apply.
Minor in Political Science (30 ECTS credits):
     Bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a minor in Political Science or Social Sciences (minimum of 30 ECTS credits).
Minor in Administrative Science (30 ECTS credits):
   Admission to the master’s degree program in Political Science (major) at the University of Bern

Recognition of the bachelor's degree will be individually decided upon if the degree is more than six years old. Additional attainments may be required

Language requirements

Sufficient knowledge of German is required in order to be able to understand source texts, lectures or examination questions.

Written or oral examinations can be taken in German, French or English.

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.

Application and admission

Admission requirements 
Application deadlines

Current UniBE students

Apply for a change to the M A in Political Science, Universität Bern by self-service as part of the re-registration for the next semester.
Renewal of semester registration → Self-service
Recognition of academic achievements
Procedure and timing of the renewal of semester registration

Application with a Swiss degree

Online application
Steps from application to registration

Application with an international degree

Online application
CHECKLIST - Documents for your application / Important information
Steps from application to registration

For questions regarding application and admission, please contact the Admissions Office.